DICKSON CITY, Pa. — An annual event in Lackawanna County keeps on truckin' this weekend, but with something new this year. It's the Andrew Mazza Diesel Jam, and it's all to help expand the diesel community in our area and support trade school students.
Newswatch 16's Elizabeth Worthington was at the Circle Drive-In in Dickson City Friday morning with all the details.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a kid, big or small, who'd turn down the chance to climb into one of these big machines and operate it themselves.
"Look at all the fun toys you get to play with. I mean, where else in the world do you get to see all this fun stuff?" said Dodge salesman Frank Gouldsbury. "Down from the regular trucks up to these huge machines that, when you were a kid who didn't want to play with this kind of stuff?"
Leaders in the diesel industry are counting on that this Saturday at the fourth annual Andrew Mazza Diesel Jam, held at the Circle Drive-in in Dickson City.
Aside from family fun with big trucks and heavy equipment, the endgame is supporting and expanding the diesel community.
"Any time the kids can get out here and actually get their hands on it, and feel what it's like, and see what we're operating out in the field," Chad Gorman, Operations Manager for GasSearch Drilling Services, based in Susquehanna County, said. "This is the same kind of equipment so they can get in, and they can touch it, they can feel it, and maybe that'll drive them into a profession that they maybe never thought about."
Gabi Shepherd has certainly thought about it. She plans to pursue a career in the industry. She's one of more than 20 local students who are receiving scholarships for trade school, thanks to money raised through the Diesel Jam event.
"I'm going to attend Penn Tech for heavy diesel and heavy equipment technology. And then I'm going into the workforce to become a heavy equipment and diesel technician," Shepherd said.
These scholarships, handed out by Phil Mazza, are in honor of his son, Andrew Mazza, who was killed in a car crash in 2016 at the age of 23. He had a passion for the diesel industry, and his family wants other students to carry on that legacy.
Career and Technical Education Director Mark Watson from the Wallenpaupack School District says there's a lot of value in a trade school education.
"Students have the opportunity to make a lot of money now in our field, so when people say there's no money in career and technical education, it is unbelievable, now they make more than most of these kids who are going to school for five years for a bachelors degree," said Watson.
And there's a massive demand for trade school graduates right now. That's why companies like GasSearch Drilling Services and Dodge get involved in this event.
"It's hard enough to get people in the industry as it is, but the scholarships are very helpful in this industry to get kids into the trade schools, get up to speed, and get a great living as soon as they get out of school," Gouldsbury said.
There are still a few scholarships available. You can bring an application to Diesel Jam on Saturday.
If you're coming just for fun, there'll be plenty in store from the truck show, a heavy equipment rodeo, axe throwing, vendors, and live entertainment. Admission is free. Trucks pay to register - details below.
What to expect:
The event is a celebration of the truck community.
It features diesel, gas, & antique truck show, mobile dyno runs, industry vendors, apparel vendors, food vendors, live entertainment & more. New this year - the Barna Heavy Equipment Rodeo, where operators will show off their skills through a series of obstacles.
Proceeds support the Andrew Mazza Foundation and scholarships for trade & high school students.
- Date: Saturday, June 11, 2022 (Rain or Shine)
- Location: Circle Drive-In, 1911 Scranton Carbondale Highway, Dickson City
- Admission: Open to the general public from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Free Admittance). The award ceremony follows.
- Truck registration is at 8 a.m.
- Prize Info - according to event organizers:
Trucks can participate in Best in Show, Best Big Rig, Best Tow, Best Pick Up, Best Antique, and Diesel Jam People's Choice. Cash prizes will be awarded.
How to register your truck:
Truck registration is a $35 donation.
An additional $100 fee is required to register for the mobile Dyno.